Officers: On The Twelve Thrones

Menacing industrial debut from synthpop duo.

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Officers are Matthew Southall and Jamie Baker and despite their rather odd and ever-so-slightly noughties band name, they owe a lot to the strange musical hinterland between harder-edged 1980s synthpop and the industrial stylings of Nine Inch Nails, and the other bands who sound like Nine Inch Nails.

Therefore, it’s not surprising that the guest vocalist on one track here (Petals) is the great Gary Numan, who also moves between those genres. Numan is excellent here in hardcore mode, but the other songs on On The Twelve Thrones show that the band themselves are a match for him.

The creepy Competition Winners has hints of Muse being harmed in a disused water tank, while Disarm has some of the best noises of the year, allied to a decent melody. In fact, melody is one of Officers’ gifts, and that ability to ally the scrunch of industry and horrible modern noises to quality tunes should stand them in good stead, whatever stead is. This album reminds the listener of several bands of the last few years (the Mode, New Order, Numan himself) but Officers have a chilly authority all of their own.

It’s unlikely that they’ll be gunning for a big summer hit next year, but On The Twelve Thrones should be more than entertaining enough for young men and women in really long leather coats throughout the coming winter months.

David Quantick

David Quantick is an English novelist, comedy writer and critic, who has worked as a journalist and screenwriter. A former staff writer for the music magazine NME, his writing credits have included On the HourBlue JamTV Burp and Veep; for the latter of these he won an Emmy in 2015.